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Old 04-18-2015, 03:36 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,475,774 times
Reputation: 29071

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
When I got a freaking job at minimum wage when I was 18, I was able to completely support myself and live in an apartment. That was almost 40 years ago. Who can support themselves in an apartment on minimum wage today? The constant "excuse" for people on welfare needing to "just" get a job is getting very old.

But maybe the problem isn't jobs, or money, or food. Maybe the problem is as simple as lowering what it costs to rent or buy housing. Of all the things that have affected people the most over the last 25 years, it's the elevated cost of housing, followed by the cost of education, and then the cost of transportation (price of cars, gas, car repair, insurance, availability and price of public transportation, etc). I would also have to add medical costs on to that, except I think today a lot of medical costs are higher simply because we use medical care to keep people living, where medical care in the past would have not been able to save those people. I include myself in that one.

Poverty isn't so bad if you know it's temporary and you have hope for the future.
With no hope and no way out, you just give up. When you've tried and been knocked down upmteen times trying to get out of poverty and you never succeed, depression sets in and you don't try anymore. At that point, you're in a bad corner, but when getting out of it takes more energy than you have, you'll stay there and then do what you have to just to survive.
I couldn't agree more with the bolded. There was a time after my first child was born that I worked a fulltime job, a part time job and attended college on the G.I. Bill carrying a full load. I never lost hope that things would get better, and they did.

Then at age 50 I was totally wiped-out in a divorce along with being saddled with monthly support payments of $2,100 a month. Things were looking grim, especially when my car died. But I never lost hope that things would get better and they did.

Given the state of the country's economy last decade I began to wonder if I was ever going to be able to retire, much as many wonder now. But I never lost hope and retire I did.

I guess I just don't know what defeat is. Now, at the near approach of age 69 I don't want to find out. I do think a big part of it is state of mind.

Last edited by Curmudgeon; 04-18-2015 at 03:49 PM..
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,439 posts, read 2,760,875 times
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Not only a state of mind, but how you think of yourself as well. I remember working while I was homeless and hearing customers talk about the homeless in front of me (not knowing I was homeless at the time), was heartbreaking for me. I always thought I was the same person I'd been before I lived in my truck and I was working and going to college, but all if a sudden I felt like a trashy person who had no right to be alive.

If we look at people on welfare and SNAP as being useless and worthless and not deserving of our help and respect, how in the world are we supposed to expect them to see themselves as any better than what we feel about them and be encouraged to climb out of the poverty they're in?
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Old 04-18-2015, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,327,156 times
Reputation: 13779
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
Not only a state of mind, but how you think of yourself as well. I remember working while I was homeless and hearing customers talk about the homeless in front of me (not knowing I was homeless at the time), was heartbreaking for me. I always thought I was the same person I'd been before I lived in my truck and I was working and going to college, but all if a sudden I felt like a trashy person who had no right to be alive.

If we look at people on welfare and SNAP as being useless and worthless and not deserving of our help and respect, how in the world are we supposed to expect them to see themselves as any better than what we feel about them and be encouraged to climb out of the poverty they're in?
A lot of people who are poor, especially those who come from families that have been poor for generations, are often the victims of dysfunctional families where chaos, lack of security, and frequently various forms of abuse are the norm. Many of these people have no idea of how to even start to get their lives together because nobody they know has their lives together.
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:22 PM
 
2,630 posts, read 1,934,527 times
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My neighbor, 8 years his senior did just about the same thing when he was "Dave's" age. Guess what. Times changed, and he is now all but out on the street.

Always cut that "predicted" income and what it will get today in half a few years out. The money stays the same while the expenses forever increase. A consistent, tried and true formula. 1000 bills a month now = 500 bills 8 - 10 years from now - no go. Far from it, in fact.

Last edited by TwinbrookNine; 04-18-2015 at 06:24 PM..
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Midland, MI
505 posts, read 527,399 times
Reputation: 1084
Well, I am going to get some hating from this, but when you start giving people stuff, they start taking it for granted. This goes even for veterans.

Wait, though, don't get me wrong, my dad and uncles were vets and I think they deserve a TON. But what I see at the VA is guys who went thru the service for a few years, then want to claim every disability in the book (everybody has PTSD regardless of where/how they served. . They get good health care (depending on your VA hospital of course- some not so great) and even get money to compensate for their travel expenses.

Not true of most vets of course but there is plenty of free loading going on by SOME people.
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:52 PM
 
2,826 posts, read 1,865,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
It's not what most of us want our senior years to look like but it's not tin cups, cat food, and street corners either. I've gotten a real education on this lately!

I will call my hypothetical person Dave. Dave lived in NYC and was of very moderate means. He could never afford to buy a home or an apartment so he rented all his life. He decides to move to Las Vegas because of the weather and lower cost of living. He has enough money to move all his stuff here with a few thousand left in the bank. Not a lot by any means. He is 65. He never married and has no children. He does have a disability. He fell when he was 62 and injured his knee then developed Traumatic Osteo-Arthritis. He walks with a cane but he is not in bad shape and can walk for miles. By trade, he was a restaurant server/manager, jobs he could no longer do after his injury.

Just to make the math easy, he makes $1000 per month, including SSD and a small union pension. When he gets to NV, he applies for low income senior housing. It will be an apartment on the bus line. 1BR, 1BA and there will be a pool, clubhouse, and all the usual apartment amenities. The apartments are actually quite nice and pretty new. His rent, utilities included, will be 1/3 of his income. $333 per month and it includes cable, internet, and he can keep his apartment set on 70 all summer long and not get a $400 electric bill. If he gets an apartment in the most likely complex, he will probably be able to do most everything on foot. Not bad. Remember, Dave never owned anything so apartment living is just fine. It's all he knows.

He gets $200 in SNAP every month(actually $194 but we are making the math easy) to use for food, effectively bringing his income up to $1200 per month. He worked enough to get get Medicare A and B. Medicaid pays his monthly premium and provides his part C/D services for free. So he has complete coverage and pays nothing. Medicaid also gives him a free landline phone and a cellphone. And if Dave ever needs a nursing home it will be free. And most likely it will be the same nursing home where we could end up.

Dave does not drive. He can chose to pay $30 per month for a senior bus pass or $2 per day for 24 hour passes. To make it easy we'll give him the monthly pass.

He gets $1200 per month and his expenses total $363. Assuming he spends the SNAP money on food as he is supposed to do, he is left with $637 in completely disposable income, $7600 per year. And because he has a Medicaid card, he could go to several food pantries each month to supplement his income. He just has to sign up. For something to do he does volunteer work at those food pantries every month.

Dave already has all his household goods. We have great thrift stores here and you can dress well almost for nothing. Maybe once a year he will have to buy underwear or a new pair of jeans. Clothing he can get by with $100 per year.

It's not a grand lifestyle but it's not bad either. And if he saves a lot of his disposable income, he can afford a couple trips a year. Or something like new furniture or a TV. Really if you account for the difference in rent, he will do much better here than in NYC. And the waiting list for low income senior housing is years long in NYC and chances are it would be in an area that was not safe.

There are some drawbacks. He can never have more than X dollars in the bank so if he wants to save for something, he has to save cash. And it will take several months to get his low income housing so he has to stay with relatives till that comes through. Dave would actually prefer to continue working but he can't. Even if he was able to find a job, he would lose his benefits. And chances are any job he could find here would not pay enough to make up for what he would lose.

When Dave turns 66, FRA, his SSD will convert to SS and he may get a bit of a raise. But since he will have Medicaid, he still won't be able to work.
You know the funny part? He is probably better off than people who retire "rich".

Let's have a theoretical person Steve. Steve worked hard from college to retirement, never going on any vacations, always saving money because he wanted to retire rich. As a result of never taking a break, Steve not only has depression and the satisfaction of never traveling outside his town, but a number of muscle and joint issues. Steve has earned enough to buy his dream home, which in fact is more home than he can actually afford. Instead of paying off his mortgage, he bought the line about equity, and has a house that routinely has big bills to pay because he has allowed it to collect. So he is "rich" but routinely makes big house payments. Also, as a result of paying into his social security, Steve has a ton of money thanks to no vacation time ever, but even though he is now retired and "finally" can go travelling like he wanted to earlier, he is actually too old, too weary, and his body is too run-down to actually enjoy vacation. He cannot go sky-diving, water-skiing, or even the lower impact stuff like hiking. Steve because he is "rich" has expensive medical bills, has food bills, and all the rest that Dave can apply to reduce or outright waive. All of that he has to pay, never got to enjoy his life while he could, and instead after all this work, he is probably breaking even with all the muscle and bone surgery, housing costs, and other costs. Oh yes, and I forgot. Steve because he is a home owner, has expensive house repairs. Steve lives in Seattle suburbs, near the highest rainfall zone in the country (Forks), and he has a wooden house, so he routinely replaces moldy or rotting wood.

Thinking about saving for retirement? Perhaps you should think again. Dave likely was poor because he was a spender not a saver.

Last edited by bulmabriefs144; 04-18-2015 at 06:00 PM..
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,732,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
A lot of people who are poor, especially those who come from families that have been poor for generations, are often the victims of dysfunctional families where chaos, lack of security, and frequently various forms of abuse are the norm. Many of these people have no idea of how to even start to get their lives together because nobody they know has their lives together.
True. What you wrote explains why public schools are not able to completely level the playing field. Even by the time a child enters kindergarten, a lot of role modeling (for better or for worse) has already taken place. Therefore, role modeling on the teachers and other functional adults at school is not real effective because it comes too "late" (even in kindergarten) and school, for some, is just an alien world that the child has already learned to distrust from the adults around him. Most of us do not model on aliens.

Fortunately that pattern is not universal, and with caring adult help at school, some kids from dysfunctional families do indeed succeed in rising above their circumstances. I have no idea what the percentage is, but I fear it's not very high.

We absorb attitudes and ways of acting and interacting without realizing that's what is happening.
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:24 PM
 
5,619 posts, read 8,549,762 times
Reputation: 7705
Quote:
Originally Posted by freemkt View Post
Are you serious? You'd have to get out into Unashack territory to find a place without building codes. Good luck finding transportation or a job there.

All I need to make money is a reasonable amount of space (200 to 400 sq ft) and a sane living environment without out-of-control drunks.
Other people do it.

You get on the Internet and cry about it.
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:30 PM
 
1,973 posts, read 2,718,849 times
Reputation: 3476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
True. What you wrote explains why public schools are not able to completely level the playing field. Even by the time a child enters kindergarten, a lot of role modeling (for better or for worse) has already taken place. Therefore, role modeling on the teachers and other functional adults at school is not real effective because it comes too "late" (even in kindergarten) and school, for some, is just an alien world that the child has already learned to distrust from the adults around him. Most of us do not model on aliens.

Fortunately that pattern is not universal, and with caring adult help at school, some kids from dysfunctional families do indeed succeed in rising above their circumstances. I have no idea what the percentage is, but I fear it's not very high.

We absorb attitudes and ways of acting and interacting without realizing that's what is happening.
Well, then Linda_D and Escort Rider -- you're right, of course. I take it back. We should never teach the kids anything about money, employment and retirement. Let's just keep things the way they are. Because, after all, there are too many kids from dysfunctional families who will probably (not definitely, but just probably) not benefit from this kind of education.

Plus, I admit -- the government bears no responsibility for its older citizens, who don't need a livable income in old age. (Elizabeth Warren deemed a livable minimum wage at $22.50/hr.)

And then the next generation will be on C-D complaining about how it's absolutely none of their fault that they are living in poverty in old age.

And the next generation.

And the next generation.



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Old 04-18-2015, 06:31 PM
 
1,973 posts, read 2,718,849 times
Reputation: 3476
You're right. I don't belong here. Thank God.
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